, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 665-674
Date: 16 Oct 2009

In vitro photothermal study of gold nanoshells functionalized with small targeting peptides to liver cancer cells

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Gold nanoshells functionalized with a small peptide as a targeting agent were designed and synthesized for photothermal therapy of hepatocarcinoma. The nanoshells exhibited high absorption in the near-infrared (NIR) range, 800–1,100 nm, and were functionalized with 12-amino acid sequence peptides for targeting liver cancer cells. The nanoshells were characterized by Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and IR spectra. The functionalized gold nanoshells showed good targeting ability to liver cancer cells BEL-7404 and BEL-7402 while not to the normal healthy liver cell HL-7702, and also had a low cytotoxic activity. The fluorescence images showed that the gold nanoshells caused death to the liver cancer cells efficiently after being treated with a NIR light in vitro. These simple, stable, low cytotoxic, cancer-cell targeting gold nanoshells present a great promise as delivery agents for the selective photothermal treatment of liver cancer cells.